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— Science

2D self-assembling semiconductor could beat out graphene

By - May 2, 2014 2 Pictures
Graphene may be talked about as the future wonder material (and for that matter, the present one), but it has one critical deficiency. It lacks a natural bandgap, the physical trait that puts the “semi” in “semiconductor," so it has to be doped to become effective. Enter Ni3(2,3,6,7,10,11-hexaiminotriphenylene)2 ... well, you can refer to it as a metal-organic graphene analogue for now. In addition to having a natural band gap, it’s able to self-assemble and represents a whole family of compounds that’s exciting to researchers for its novel properties. Read More
— Science

Floating nuclear plants could prove tsunami-proof

By - April 17, 2014 2 Pictures
The most frightening part of a tsunami hitting a nuclear power plant is what comes after – radioactive leaks that contaminate the water around the plant are exceedingly difficult to contain. The clean up of the radioactive water around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan, which was struck by a tsunami in 2011, is expected to take decades. MIT researchers have come up with an alternative; they propose building floating nuclear plants, far enough offshore to simply ride out a tsunami and emerge unscathed. Read More
— Medical

Drug-delivering nanoparticles pose a triple threat to cancer

By - April 16, 2014 2 Pictures
Delivering drugs that can knock out tumor cells within the body, without causing adverse side effects, is a tricky busines. It's why scientists have taken to engineering new and creative types of nanoparticles that do the job. Increasing a nanoparticle's ability to carry more drugs expands treatment options, but creating nanoparticles capable of delivering more than one or two drugs has proven difficult – until now. Scientists at MIT report creating a revolutionary building block technique that's enabled them to load a nanoparticle with three drugs. The approach, they say, could be expanded to allow a nanoparticle to carry hundreds more. Read More

Bacteria combined with gold to produce "living material"

Scientists at MIT are developing hybrid materials that are a cross between living bacterial cells and non-living components such as gold nanoparticles or quantum dots. The resulting "living materials" are able to respond to their environment like regular living cells, while also doing things like conducting electricity or emitting light. Read More
— Environment

Nano technique boosts plant energy production and creates plant biosensors

By - March 17, 2014 4 Pictures
In 2010, Stanford University researchers reported harnessing energy directly from chloroplasts, the cellular "power plants" within plants where photosynthesis takes place. Now, by embedding different types of carbon nanotubes into these chloroplasts, a team at MIT has boosted plants' ability to capture light energy. As well as opening up the possibility of creating "bionic plants" with enhanced energy production, the same approach could be used to create plants with environmental monitoring capabilities. Read More
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